Katrina Gaffney, External Affairs Officer, Money and Mental Health

3 takeaways from our conference for financial services firms on tackling gambling harms

20 October 2020

Last week Money and Mental Health was delighted to hold its first online conference to explore how financial services firms can help tackle gambling-related harm – an important landmark in our two year programme of work we launched at the beginning of this year. 

This conference brought together professionals working in financial services, along with regulators, researchers, politicians and those with personal experience of gambling harm to explore the positive steps firms have already taken to help customers who might be struggling to control their spending on gambling, as well as the exciting opportunities for innovation in this industry. This will be the first in a series of blogs about the conference – we’ve highlighted the top three things we want financial services firms to take away from our speakers and panellists.

Financial firms have an increasingly important role to play in tackling gambling harms

“We want to work in partnership with the financial sector to find innovative ways to reduce gambling-related harm. We all have a part to play to protect vulnerable consumers.” Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission

The potential for financial services firms to play a key role in reducing gambling related harms was made clear by all the speakers at our conference – from those working in the industry to those with personal experience of problem gambling. In his opening keynote speech, Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, welcomed the action banks have taken so far, such as the introduction of gambling blocks on cards, and emphasised that the Gambling Commission would like to work with the sector to find other ways to reduce gambling harm. He highlighted that financial services providers already have a single view of their customers financial transactions – which potentially gives them a unique opportunity to identify and support those struggling with their gambling. 

This view was also echoed by Nicky Davis, a member of the Money and Mental Health Research Community, who explained how a brief intervention from her bank could have saved her from losing thousands of pounds on gambling. 

It’s not just banks — other financial services firms can make a big difference too

 “Financial services aren’t just banks, and interventions in financial services are not just gambling card blockers.” Chris Fitch, Vulnerability Lead at the Money Advice Trust and a Research Fellow at the Personal Finance Research Centre

The gambling industry is constantly evolving — the response from financial services should as well

“Always remember that gambling’s evolving, what your parents played, what your grandparents played is different types of gambling.” Danny Cheetham, Expert by Experience and campaigner